As I delve deeper into the world of Portuguese wines, I’m continually impressed by the unwavering dedication of a select group of wine families who embarked on a mission to redefine the perception of their region’s winemaking capabilities. Their relentless efforts have given rise to a harmonious blend of quality, diversity, and value-driven wines that extend far beyond the realm of traditional Port.
These visionary families have not only contributed to establishing Portugal as a respected wine-producing nation but have also been instrumental in showcasing the nation’s rich tapestry of grape varieties and distinctive terroirs. Their wineries serve as custodians of Portugal’s winemaking traditions while simultaneously pioneering innovative techniques and unwavering commitment to quality, earning them international acclaim.
Last week, I had the privilege of meeting with Winemaker Luísa Amorim of Taboadella Winery, whose family’s profound influence on Portuguese winemaking is beautifully captured in this article. This week, I had the pleasure of savoring wines from Casa Ferreirinha, an illustrious winery with roots dating back to the 18th century in the enchanting Douro Valley of Portugal.
The story of Casa Ferreirinha begins with its founder, Bernardo Ferreira, who established the company along with a vineyard in the heart of the Douro Valley. Initially, their focus was on crafting traditional Port wines. However, as time marched on, the Ferreira family evolved their craft to include the production of still wines, seamlessly weaving together both traditional and modern winemaking techniques. In a watershed moment in 1952, they gave birth to one of Portugal’s most iconic table wines, Barca Velha. In 1987, Casa Ferreirinha joined forces with the prestigious Sogrape Vinhos group, solidifying its place among the top echelons of Portuguese wine producers.
Under the Casa Ferreirinha umbrella, there are several distinct brands including Papa Figos, Planalto, Callabriga, and the legendary Barca Velha. I recently had the privilege of sampling three of their remarkable wines:
- 2021 Casa Ferreirinha Papa Figos Douro Branco: This enchanting blend of native grape varieties, such as Viosinho, Rabigato, and Gouveio, delighted my senses with its citrusy notes, hints of jasmine, green apple, and stone fruit, all elegantly balanced by refreshing acidity.
- 2021 Casa Ferreirinha Papa Figos Vinho Tinto: A harmonious blend of Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, and Tinta Barroca, this wine revealed itself as a fruit-forward delight, with captivating notes of black and red fruits, delicate floral accents, and a touch of spice.
- 2019 Casa Ferreirinha Callabriga Douro: Comprising 43% Touriga Franca, 32% Touriga Nacional, and 25% Tinta Roriz, this wine painted a vivid palate of black and red fruits, intertwined with seductive mocha, balsamic, and a tantalizing spice, leaving a lingering taste.
It is abundantly clear that the unwavering dedication, sheer passion, and unceasing innovation of these winemakers have rightfully positioned Portugal on the global wine stage. Within this extraordinary journey, a select group of families recognized the boundless potential beyond traditional Port, and in doing so, have bestowed upon the world an enduring legacy of exceptional Portuguese wines.